Palmithoylethanolamide has a unique role in controlling cell function factors and therefore has broad clinical applications. Clinical research on palmithoylethanolamide mainly focuses on pain and inflammation management. In this field, there have been at least 21 clinical trials of palmithoylethanolamide. The application form of palmithoylethanolamide is usually in the form of oral tablets, and the most common method of pain assessment is the visual analogue scale (VAS), with a scale of 0 to 10, where 0 represents no pain and 10 represents the worst imaginable pain. Patients make subjective evaluations of their pain levels based on this scale. With the exception of one study, all studies reported a significant decrease in pain intensity, with almost no side effects.
The largest double-blind study investigated the effect of palmithoylethanolamide on lower back pain or sciatica. The results showed that the efficacy of 600 mg/day and 300 mg/day dosages of PEA were significantly higher than that of the placebo, and the highest dosage (600 mg) had greater efficacy. A significant finding of this study was to demonstrate the number needed to treat (NNT) to achieve a 50% reduction in pain. NNT is considered a statistically reliable and easy-to-read measure for assessing the effectiveness of chronic pain treatment. NNT means the number of patients needed to treat in order to obtain a response greater than that achieved by placebo treatment. A lower NNT represents a higher efficacy. In this study, the NNT of PEA was 1.5, meaning that two out of three patients responded. By comparison, the NNT of 400 mg ibuprofen was 2.8, the NNT of 600 mg acetaminophen was 5, and the NNT of 60 mg codeine was 18.
A study compared the effects of palmithoylethanolamide and ibuprofen in relieving temporomandibular joint (TMJ) bone inflammation pain, and the results showed that PEA was superior to ibuprofen. At the first measurement, blind operators recorded the maximum opening of the test subject's mouth, and recorded it again after 14 days of medication. After two weeks of treatment, the assessment of the subjects showed that the pain relief was significantly greater in the PEA group than in the ibuprofen group. Group A also had a greater improvement in the maximum opening degree compared to Group B. This study showed that palmithoylethanolamide may help relieve TMJ inflammatory pain and is more effective than ibuprofen.
The latest palmithoylethanolamide study is about relieving knee joint inflammation. 111 subjects were randomly divided into groups and took 300 mg/day of PEA, 600 mg/day of PEA, or placebo for 8 weeks. In the PEA group, the total score of knee joint inflammation symptoms and personal scores for pain, stiffness, function, and anxiety were significantly reduced. In this study, PEA had no side effects. The 300 mg/day dosage was effective, but the 600 mg/day dosage was more effective. Since there are no side effects, a higher dosage is recommended.